Washington: Close on the heels of President George W Bush’s remarks linking Indians’ food habits to rising global prices of commodities, the US has now partly attributed the surge in oil futures to the increased demand in India and China. “There are a lot of different ways that we can reduce our dependence, but we have more to do and it’s just — and also I would point out that, obviously, the demand for oil is growing around the world,” White House deputy spokesman Scott Stanzel said in a briefing. “Many developing nations like India or China are having greatly increased demand, which obviously is having an impact on price,” the senior White House official said responding to a question on the crude oil price crossing $120-mark. The White House official stressed that it was important for the US to become less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Stanzel spoke regarding Bush’s remarks, which have drawn a lot of flak from India, saying the US saw “higher living standards” of people there as a “good thing”. “We think that it is a good thing that countries are developing; that more and more people have higher and higher standards of living,” he said. “The point that I think was to be made is that as you increase your standard of living, the food that you eat can venture more into meats that require more commodities to feed the livestock which, you know, uses more of those commodities, whether it’s corn, or wheat, or other commodities and it drives up the price. So that is just a function of how those food prices that we’ve seen spike around the world,” Stanzel said. Recently, Bush took the case of Indian middle-class to argue that its demand for better nutrition was a factor in pushing the global food prices up. PTI EU too says Indians eating too much The European Union too jumped into the US bandwagon on Tuesday to target India and China for driving food prices worldwide, saying the huge increase in demand in these two countries was like an “elephant”. European Union commissioner for agriculture and rural development Mariann Fischer Boel said change in dietary habits in India and China was responsible for spiralling global food prices. “Those who see biofuels as the driving force behind food price increases overlooked not just one elephant standing right in front of them, but two,” she said. “The first elephant is the huge increase in demand from emerging countries like China and India. These countries are eating more meat,” she said. PTI
Is this the price that you have to pay for development?